In November last year councillors on Scottish Borders Council’s planning committeee turned down an application for 48 caravans on the same site, planning officers advising them to do so because it was “an inappropriate extension into the open countryside” and that it represented “an un-neighbourly form of development”.
However, a reduction of caravans from 48 to 31 and an increase in landscaping, persuaded planning officers that they could support the revised application, which applicants Humberts Leisure say will generate two new jobs at the site.
As councillors considered the planning application they were told by planning officers: “The caravan park is in a very prominent location on the headland above Eyemouth and is already visually intrusive. However, the applicant has stated that planting would be carried out to lessen the impact of the park. Although the size of the park would be increased by erecting holiday static caravans on a previously undeveloped part of the headland, and expanding into the Area of Great Landscape Value, it is considered that this would not harm the visual amenities of the area any more than the existing park and would not represent a significant adverse effect on the residential amenity of nearby houses.”
Residents in those neighbouring houses, however, disagreed and there were 20 objections to the plans.
One resident said: “ As a resident in the area of Eyemouth since 1975 I have witnessed the growth and expansion of Eyemouth Caravan Site. While it’s of benefit to the community that this business has thrived and encourages further business and money to the town, at what cost?
“The caravan site has certainly been much improved over the years and well maintained but has increased in such size that I now no longer have the views from my house that I once did.
“In 1975 I could see the entire coastline from Coldingham Beach to St Abbs lighthouse, now due to the erection of further caravans last year and the overgrowth of the trees that were originally planted to screen the site I can only see part of the coastline but have an unwanted, wonderful view of the new caravans.”
Eyemouth Town Council was split as to whether or not to support the expansion of the caravan site, eventually voting 4-3 in favour of the application.
Speaking on behalf of the town council, Jack Johnston said: “The existing site brings much needed business to the town and these additional homes we feel will bring much needed additional business. This new application is 18 sites less than the original one.
“The landscape proposals will also improve this particular area. While we appreciate the residents’ concerns we, on the other hand, must look at what’s best for Eyemouth. May I suggest a site visit be considered before you reach a decision.”
Councillor Donald Moffat also wanted members of the planning committee to visit the site before deciding on the application, but only his fellow SNP councillor John Mitchell supported his call.
Instead councillors voted in favour of the application, with a couple of amendments to the 12 recommended conditions attached to the permission.